Waterway woes dog Carnarvon

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Geoff VivianMidwest Times
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Carnarvon Yacht Club’s dredge trying to cut through the channel.
Camera IconCarnarvon Yacht Club’s dredge trying to cut through the channel.

Two years after a storm dumped sand across the mouth of Carnarvon’s Fascine waterway, boats and canal homes are still without ocean access and visiting craft cannot use sheltered moorings or the recreational boat ramp.

North West Central member Vince Catania said Carnarvon’s struggling economy had suffered because visiting boats used to spend up big on fuel, food and supplies.

“If this happened in Perth it would be unacceptable,” he said.

“The closure of the Fascine says that Carnarvon is closed.”

While Carnarvon Yacht Club members have been able to assemble and operate a small dredge that had almost cut through the sand bar, Mr Catania said this was a stop-gap measure at best.

“It only takes one weather event and it is full again,” he said.

“The only permanent fix is if the State Government takes responsibility for the waterway which it owns.”

Mr Catania said some of the volunteers operating the dredge were in their 80s, and the work was paid for by Carnarvon Yacht Club and businesses who had donated to the cause.

“The dredge has not yet cut through,” he said.

“You can still get boats out but it needs a lot of work, you can get boats out on the tide with some difficulty.”

Community members have formed a Carnarvon Waterways 2020 Focus Group to drive local attention and gain wider government support for a plan to re-establish the boating channel.

The group has resolved to ask WA Transport minister Rita Saffioti to help unblock the Fascine.

Chairman Justin Borg said they sought a short-term solution to source funding and expertise to keep operating the dredge, and to develop a long-term plan for the Fascine.

He said the latter would aim to protect the waterway from future tidal activity and consider the feasibility of integrating a Carnarvon Recreational Aqua Park as a feature with a broader concept plan.

The group also resolved to commission an independent Strategic Evaluation Plan as a blueprint for further actions.

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